THE TIGHTROPE

When it comes to the tightrope, balance is key. Likewise with other risky maneuvers such as juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle or assuming the responsibility of promoting legendary Route 66 through events, blogs, books, or from behind the counter of information centers. 
On one hand you want to promote the road as a community and the places, as well people,  in that community as part of the whole. On the other you want to lend an extra hand to the underdog or the new kid on the block. To lean to far toward either side in this balancing act is to allow favoritism into your work which will present a lopsided view of the Route 66 community. It is also a sure fire way to provide employment for an enterprising rope salesman in any community with tall trees. 
Here in Kingman we are now fortunate to have not one but two historic motels, the Hilltop Motel and the El Trovatore Motel. Soon we will also be able to offer the Brusnwick Hotel as a lodging choice for travelers. 
The Hilltop Motel is an old standby. The owners have worked tirelessly over the past few years to ensure the Route 66 enthusiast has an opportunity to lay their weary head in a time capsule of the 1950s without the sacrifice of, or intrusion of modern amenities. 
The El Trovatore Motel is the new kid on the block, at least in the sense of being a destination for fans of the double six. For the first time in more than a half century the neon letters on the El Trovatore tower again light the desert sky. As a result, the El Trovatore Motel is stealing a bit of the promotional limelight. 
Even though it is an apples to orange kind of comparison (one motel represents the post war era and the other the prewar era, one is a time capsule and one is a time capsule with an overlay of Disneyland) both need to be promoted equally to ensure the picture of the Route 66 community is complete as well as accurate. Of course if only one is offering vintage fans over AC, radios instead of television, and a morning newspaper instead of WiFi access, it becomes much easier to present them as distinctly different entities. 
If photography is your medium for promoting the road the task of presenting the road in a balanced manner becomes much more challenging. Do you photograph the neon of the El Trovatore, the neon of the Hill Top Motel, or the old motel that is now rented by the week or month, such as the circa 1929 Siesta Motel in Kingman. What if photography is your means of promoting the road as well as a source of income? 
As the resurgent interest in Route 66 continues to make the refurbishment of historic properties viable the task of presenting a balanced picture becomes even more daunting. In Holbrook the Globetrotter Lodge has joined the Wigwam Motel as time capsule destinations at the end of a long day on the road. In Tucumcari you have the Motel Safari and Blue Swallow Motel vying for attention as well as customers. 
Well, I may have a solution. What I am envisioning is the creation of a service that tailors a trip along Route 66 to the individuals tastes, schedule, and interests. 
As an example, the customer requesting information sends back the questionnaire with a notation that they are interested in staying in historic motels and are aware that they can not expect the services or amenities offered by the Hilton or Holiday Inn Express. They have also indicated an interest in exploring the Tucumcari area. 
In the customers customized travel plan, information about the Blue Swallow Motel and Motel Safari (history, contact information, recent upgrades, etc.) are provided. Part two of this comes with completion of the trip.
The customer is asked to provide input on these motels. Complaints, or praise, are forwarded to the owner of the respective properties for a response. The owner then responds to the customer and this correspondence is provided to the next person requesting information about motels in Tucumcari. 
As each trip is tailored to a customers specific needs, similar information will be provided about museums, restaurants, and attractions found with short detours with the completed trip itinerary. In addition, promotional brochures, rack cards, and related materials would be provided with these packages. 
Okay, here is where you put in your two cents worth.  


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